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I gave my heart to the task of using wisdom to repeatedly investigate and explore all that is done under heaven; here is my conclusion: ELOHIM

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has given the sons of Adam a vexing task

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to be engaged in so as to humble us.

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I dedicated all of me, my heart and soul, to the task of using the wisdom God has given me to repeatedly investigate and explore everything that is done here on earth; my conclusion is that THE RULER OVER ALL THINGS has given

mankind a frustrating and grievous task to be engaged in so as to afflict us, bring us low and humble us.



The name EL is used here. It was a common name for a god-figure in the ancient Near East, and serves as the root for the name Elohim. I have rendered it as “Elohim” because that is what you are most accustomed to. The emphasis of either El or Elohim seems to be on his power or sovereign rule over all things. While our God can legitimately claim that title and other gods are not even real, the highly recognizable term was borrowed and adapted. The Hebrew concept of God, expressed in the name Elohim, is plural not singular. Many scholars think the early uses of the name were plural because this god-figure is simply too vast to be referred to with a singular word. From our vantage point we would add that it was setting the stage for the concept of a God with more than one manifestation or expression, a concept that would grow and develop into what we see in the New Testament as the Trinity.

2: “a vexing task”

This Hebrew word means “to bend, to bring low, to humble, to afflict.” It can also mean “task or occupation” and the effort required to carry on that work. The choice of this word is to show how vexing, grievous and troublesome that work is.

3: “to humble us”

This is a different form of the word for “vexing task” used above. Notice that the author has used what is almost the same word twice for the purpose of emphasis. This word can also mean “to be occupied or busy with work,” but the emphasis is on the difficulty of that work in order to “bring us low.”


Throughout this entire section it’s as if Solomon was trying to communicate something like this: “Now I see that all my accomplishments are very much like a vapor. I sought that which was spectacular, that which would stand out as extraordinary, but I now see that nothing we do is extraordinary. There is a mundane monotony about my life when compared with the big dreams I once had.”